Do you find your weight constantly fluctuating? You think you've finally lost weight for good only to see the pounds creep back on?
According to the Federal Weight Control Information Network, this cycle may be 5-10 pounds up and down, or more than 50 pounds repeatedly lost and regained.
Reasons for Weight Fluctuations
The reasons for the weight cycle are often linked to the following four causes:
- Extreme and unrealistic diets, such as "fad" or "crash" diets. These types of diets tend to be difficult because you eventually feel deprived and revert to old eating habits.
- Poor techniques, such as skipping meals or doing well with your diet during the week but "taking a break" on weekends. These techniques usually result in overeating.
- Unrealistic goals, such as wanted to fit into your old high school jeans. Do you really need to be a tiny size to achieve the heart health you desire?
- Poor support system. Do the people around you support your new healthy actions or do persuade you to "cheat" on your plan?
Difficulty Breaking the Cycle
Typically your body finds a weight it likes and doesn't want to change. This makes weight loss difficult because you have biology working against you.
Hormones, such as leptin, monitor your energy needs and body fat stores. As you begin to shed pounds your hormone levels change. This usually causes your body to think its starving and to prepare for the coming famine, your body drops your metabolism (the rate your burn calories) to conserve energy and protect fat stores.
Overtime you begin to eat more and you return to your pre-diet calorie intake. Now, you'd think you would maintain your previous weight; however, your diet has caused your metabolism to drop and your calorie needs are now lower. So, the calorie that once maintained your weight instead leads to weight gain.
Well, I don't know of many who say weight loss is easy!
Tips for Successful Weight Loss
If you are overweight and struggling to lower cholesterol or blood pressure, you know weight loss will significantly improve your heart health. So, you need to find a way to successfully lose the weight and keep it off.
Here are tips for success:
1. Eat enough calories. Stay above 1200 calories and for some people the minimum calorie need is higher. Too few calories drops your metabolism and slows or stops weight loss. Too few calories will also cause you to lose muscle as well as the fat.
2. Be realistic. Even if you want to eventually lose 50 pounds, start with a smaller, achievable goal. You can significantly improve your heart healthy by losing just 10% body fat.
3. Lose weight at a healthy weight. Aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week. This ensures you're losing fat, not muscle.
4. Makes changes for the long-term. Dieting is typically not the best approach, because the term diet implies a beginning and an end. For permanent weight loss you need to focus on healthy changes for life. This means finding a realistic plan.